In Theaters 09.22.2023

Farewell My Concubine

Directed by Chen Kaige
Film Movement Classics
1993
170 Minutes
China, Hong Kong
Mandarin
Drama, Classics, Music, Romance, Asian
Unrated

Cheng Dieyi (Leslie Cheung) and Duan Xiaolou (Zhang Fengyi) grow up enduring the harsh training of the Peking Opera Academy, where instructors regularly beat the students to instill in them the discipline needed to master the complex physical and vocal techniques of this ancient art. As the two boys mature, they develop complementary talents: Dieyi, with his fine, delicate features, assumes the female roles while Xiaolou plays masculine warlords. Their dramatic identities become real for Dieyi when he falls in love with Xiaolou, who fails to fully reciprocate his affections and marries a courtesan, Juxian (Gong Li), creating a dangerous, jealousy-filled romantic triangle.

Hailed as a “cultural achievement” (The New York Times) and widely considered one of the most important motion pictures ever made, FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE is a “gorgeous, intoxicating epic” (Los Angeles Times) that is both “visually spectacular” and “sumptuous in every respect” (Time Out). Spanning 50 years from the early 20th century to the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, Chen Kaige's passionate, exquisitely shot film captures the vast historical scope of a changing country while revealing the intimate and touching details of a unique, tender, heartrending love story. Based on the bestselling novel by Lillian Lee, it was selected as one of the “100 Best Films in Global History” by TIME Magazine, was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and remains the only Chinese-language film to ever win the Palme d’Or.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Film Movement Classics is proud to bring the recently restored 4K version of this masterwork to North American theaters, where audiences in the U.S. and Canada will be able to see the complete, uncut film (20 minutes longer than its original Miramax theatrical release) on screen for the first time ever.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Chen Kaige
  • Starring: Leslie Cheung
  • Starring: Zhang Fengyi
  • Starring: Gong Li
  • Starring: Ge You

Trailer

Photos

Reviews

  • "One of those very rare film spectacles that deliver just about everything the ads are likely to promise. "Farewell My Concubine" ... is a vastly entertaining movie. It's also one of such recognizably serious concerns that you can sink into it with pleasure and count it a cultural achievement. CRITIC'S PICK! "
    Vincent Canby, The New York Times
  • "This is entertaining filmmaking on a grand scale."
    Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
  • "Chen's remarkable movie uses an unusual love triangle to telescope more than 50 years of tumultuous Chinese history."
    David Ansen, Newsweek
  • ""Farewell My Concubine" is a demonstration of how a great epic can function. I was generally familiar with the important moments in modern Chinese history, but this film helped me to feel and imagine what it was like to live in the country during those times. This is one of the year's best films."
    Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
  • "Appropriately operatic, Chen's visually spectacular epic is sumptuous in every respect. Intelligent, enthralling, rhapsodic."
    Geoff Andrew, Time Out
  • "The movie is more stunning than ever, a daring blend of history and personal storytelling with one of the most striking performances of its era from Leslie Cheung, a performer who left us way too soon…. As for the restoration, it looks better than ever.... It took 30 years, but if this version brings “Farewell My Concubine” to a new audience, it will have been worth the wait."
    Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
  • "As both a monumental piece of Chinese cinematic history and a lasting tribute to the special brilliance of its star, Farewell My Concubine is an essential viewing experience."
    Lee Jutton, Film Inquiry

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